Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jane Austen Greetings

My dear Ms. Austen,

Please permit me to wish you a most happy belated birthday. You may be surprised to receive such a message from me - a person who you never saw in your life, but if you had even an inkling of the number of people who have been inspired, delighted, altered by the your work, you might understand a bit more.

Allow me to express how ardently I admire your work Ms. Austen. From the moment I apprehensively picked up your Pride and Prejudice and realized that the first chapter was amusing, clear and devoid of heavy, incomprehensible description, I was devoted to your compositions. From the moment, I sat down to watch the television series based upon your novel and realized how beautifully your words could be brought to the screen, I was committed. (You would have found television interesting I think. There is as much to amuse as to annoy on it. I think you would have found a great deal to marvel and laugh at.) I must thank you Ms. Austen for enriching my life with your novels.

Thank you for your heroines - for delightful people like Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Morland and even opinionated Emma Woodhouse. Young women who I wish to emulate. They are flawed yet principled. Intelligent, but with a lot to learn. Some of them are witty. All are wonderful in their own ways. I can hope that someday I can learn to be more like them.

Thank you for your heroes – true they have spoiled me for having real life relationships with the boring men of the world, but ah well - I would not pass up making the acquaintance of your Mr. Darcy and Mr. Tilney and many of your other gents for the world. Your gentlemen are kind and wonderful. They show us what true nobility is. Mr. Tilney particularly is witty and adorable in every sense of the world. I envy your creation of him as I envy so many other aspects of your work.

Your ability to construct concise, loaded, truly hilarious sentences strikes me every time. If ever I can learn to express myself as you do, I would believe that I had reached the epitome of writing ability. You may think I exaggerate to flatter, but I do not. I speak the absolute truth.
I do not wish to weary you with a lengthy Mr. Collins-style epistle (you characterized him and your many other bores excellently by the way. I fear that you suffered the company of many such types in your short life). I will conclude directly. I cannot end though without saying that I love your villains. They are real. John Thorpe is so vivid in my imagination. Also many of the movies your novels have inspired are fantastic, and I have spent considerable hours enjoying them. It is because of you that I have been introduced to the amazing skills of the likes of Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, J.J. Feilds and many others. Perhaps you have a suspicion now of the pleasures you introduced into my existence. I can honestly say my life is better because you lived on this earth for forty-two short years.

Perhaps, you a white, British woman did not realized that one day your “bits of ivory” would touch the heart and mind of a young, black West Indian woman, but that is the beauty of writing isn’t it? We reach through the pages we write to touch other human beings; we cannot know how far the vibrations will go. Yours go very far indeed, and I hope you are aware of this in some way.

Happy 233rd birthday.

Yours respectfully etc.

Read more about this remarkable woman here

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